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Four DU pharmacy depts protest state minister’s statement

  • Published at 05:56 pm June 30th, 2019
web_du-File photo of Curzon Hall, Dhaka University
Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

HC seeks DU report on milk products by July 7

Four departments under the Faculty of Pharmacy at Dhaka University have expressed deep concern and protested the statement of State Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Swapan Bhattacharjee regarding a recent study of the university.

The chairpersons of the four departments, Departments of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology, and Pharmaceutical Technology, issued a signed statement on Sunday.

“We express deep concern and protest the statement of State Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Swapan Bhattacharjee before the parliament saying the study published by Dhaka University’s Pharmacy department was a lie,” read the statement signed by Pharmacy Department Chairman Prof Sitesh Chandra Bachar, Pharmaceutical Chemistry Chairman Md Khalid Hossain, Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology Chairman Mohammad Shawkat Ali and Pharmaceutical Technology Chairman Syed Shabbir Haider.

Also Read- ‘DU pharmacy department does not own recent milk research’

On June 27, the state minister told the parliament that a Dhaka University study that claimed to have found traces of arsenic in Milk Vita’s milk was a lie.

The statement also said the study, which found traces of detergent and antibiotics in some samples of pasteurized and unpasteurized milk taken from kitchen markets and grocery shops in Dhaka, was not done by them.

“We had not any involvement with the study and therefore we will not shoulder any responsibilities regarding the matter,” 

In a study that began in May last year, the DU Faculty of Pharmacy and Biomedical Research Centre revealed that researchers found traces of antibiotics, such as levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, and azithromycin, in milk. These antibiotics are generally used to treat bacterial infections in humans.

Faculty of Pharmacy Dean Prof SM Abdur Rahman and DU Biomedical Research Centre Director Prof ABM Faroque, however, said the study was funded by and used the departments of the faculty.

Prof SM Abdur Rahman said the study was conducted the testing at the labs of the faculty.

While, Prof ABM Faroque said he along with few other faculty and student researchers conducted the study funded by the faculty and the university.

HC seeks DU report 

The High Court has sought the study report conducted by members of Dhaka University’s Department of Pharmacy that found antibiotics, detergent, coliform, and other  hazardous bacterial organisms in pasteurized milk products.

The High Court bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir asked the lawyer of Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institute (BSTI), Barrister Sarkar MR Hassan, to collect the DU report findings and submit those before it on July 7.

The court also accepted a BSTI test report on milk products. The BSTI report findings said it has not detected any harmful substances in milk products of 14 brands, including Aarong, Pran and Milk Vita.

Also Read- HC seeks DU report on milk products by July 7

After the hearing, Barrister Sarkar said BSTI will send a letter to the DU Pharmacy department researchers to get their report. 

On June 25, different newspapers and media outlets published reports of the latest DU study that found antibiotics, detergent and coliform and other hazardous bacterial organisms in the pasteurized milk products of five popular brands sold in the capital.

The study, conducted by a group of teachers of Dhaka University’s Faculty of Pharmacy, also found edible oil, spice powders, fruit juices, and ghee of several popular brands as sub-standard — compared to BSTI standards.

However, on June 28, the DU Pharmacy Department issued a press release, signed by its Chairman Prof Sitesh Chandra Bachar, saying: “The Pharmacy Department is not taking any responsibility for the research that was published in different mass media outlets, as the findings were prepared based on a teacher’s personal research and the department has no involvement with it.”

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